Monday, August 25, 2008

Our perspectives differ-just a bit!!!

One evening Abhir sat doing his home-work. He was writing "mat". He is learning to write independently, without 100% supervision (because that is what I trained Oorja also to do. I think its necessary to teach them to manage home work on their own). Anyways, I come back about 15 minutes later and saw half a page filled neatly with "tam" "tam" "tam".

A few days ago, he wrote "one" neatly in a mirror image in his Math note book.

As a little girl about the same age, Oorja used to do the same. I know that its a phase and they eventually grow out of it. What I wasn't expecting last evening, was this:

Abhir writing Math again, "What comes in-between" 13 __ 15
He wrote 13 41 15.
I asked him "What comes after 13 and before 15?"
He replied, "14."
"Thats correct," I said. "What have you written?" pointing to his book.
"14" came the prompt reply.
I tried another tact. "What is fourteen?"
He said, "One four fourteen."
"What have you written?" again pointing to his book.
"No beta, you've written four one forty one."
He looked at it carefully for a few minutes and said, "No mama. You can't see it properly. It is one four fourteen!"

A matter of perspective would you say? At age 5, I believe it is!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mommy chatter

As I doubled over doing my ab crunches in the gym this morning, I marvelled at the dedication of a young man I have seen come to the gym every single morning. I reach the gym between 5:20 am and 5:30 am and have always seen this guy land before me. Once we happened to leave the gym together and I realised that he comes on a bicycle every morning and lives quite far from the gym. Last I heard him speaking to another regular, mentioning that he goes to work at about 930 or so.

This morning I was struck by the thought that the guy, who takes off with me on most days, probably reaches home around 7:45 or so…and perhaps either has a wife to look after the other chores such as tiffin cooking and packing, running a round of washing in the machine, tidying up the place etc etc…or lives with his parents or is a bachelor. Under all the circumstances, “Lucky guy” I thought.

“How I would love to live that life of carelessness and leisure; of having nothing more to do when I get back home from a fulfilling work out than enjoying a steaming cup of coffee with the cart load of newspapers we subscribe to; or simply spend fifteen minutes meditating; or jump starting the professional activities of the day….”

What I do on a typical day is rush home after the work out. At sharp 7 am I’m out and drive like a maniac to get home in 4-6 minutes flat. Because, I have to help hubby get the kids ready, make the ‘compulsory-in-school’ pigtails for daughter and hopefully have them out and in time to get their rick to school at 7:40.

This sometimes involves getting the son out of bed at 7:15 am and getting him ready in time to make it to the rick deadline! All this when hubby is the sweetest soul who manages their tiffin and gets them out of bed, (at least the older one) no mean task I assure you!

After the kids go, it’s the usual mundane household chores that need attending, leaving me, on most days with enough time to glance at the newspaper with longing eyes.

And mind you, all of this happens on GOOD days.

On bad days when hubby is out of town, I turn into the local superwoman who also has a gym routine she needs to move further up the clock…make it 5:10 am out of home. But that’s ok ‘coz she’d rather die without it!!!!

So imagine my surprise, while all through the one hour work out I envied the presumably ‘carefree’ life of the gym regular (I hope his day goes well today), drove home like a maniac and walked in at 6:40 am, hoping to find one in bed and one in the loo (courtesy the alarm I set for her), when I found my little darlings decked in the uniform!!!!

I stood frozen. Did they take ‘short cuts’? Like avoiding a bath? Or even brushing their teeth?

“No” both squealed, “We woke up early maa.”

The morning was like a dream come true. I had enough time to make their tiffin, feed them a relaxed breakfast, listen to their unending chatter and make two leisurely pigtails…. I even dropped them off to school, a rare treat for them since we live close to the school, as a bonus for making my day!

They’ve promised me that I would never have to struggle with them anymore. They even want me to take their dad to the gym in the morning!!!

I'd like to tell them that I am so thrilled that they made the effort to ease things for me, even if this were the first and the last time ever. This would qualify as the best surprise I have ever had!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Abort or not

The picture made it to the front page of newspapers. A heart broken expectant mother, weeping as her husband consoles her.

After Niketa and Haresh Mehta's petition to abort their unborn child at 26 weeks was turned down by the Bombay High Court, the debate rages. Should parents have the right to get rid of a life…that at 26 weeks is a little individual?

At 26 weeks, the foetus, around 12 inches from head to toe, and weighing about 450-600 grams, has a normal amount of muscle on the legs and arms and exhibits a whole range of typical baby behaviour and moods, including scratching, smiling, crying, hiccuping and sucking.

It jumps in response to loud sounds and even reacts to bright light aimed at the uterus, indicating optic nerve function. Studies indicate that the foetus can respond to touch at this stage.Developmental neurobiologists say that at 26 weeks, the foetus can feel pain. If the foetus is aborted at this stage, it may feel pain.

How then, can a mother, who harbours the life within her, even imagine wanting to abort the child?

The debate is that the baby “may be” born with a congenital heart problem that will not only decrease the quality of the baby’s life but will also put immense pressure on the parents, emotionally and financially.


Ask couples who do not have a child for known or unknown medical reasons, those who put themselves through the repeated torture of IVF, spend lakhs of rupees trying to have a baby, is it a fair choice to abort a child that “may” be born with a defect? A child that is already more than half its way towards being born? Isn't the risk worth taking?

Is it because the pressure of ‘perfection’ is getting so deeply ingrained in our society that we cannot imagine having a ‘less-than-perfect’ child?

Or are we getting so materialistic that we are worried over a future cost the child may incur on us with respect to its medical bills that we don’t mind aborting it? What would have happened had the child had a healthy birth and developed a medical condition later on? Would the parents have disowned the child?

On the other hand, as parents, who with two perfectly normal and healthy children also succumb to the pressure of raising them, can we condemn the couple who may have to raise a baby that will never be healthy?

Whether we stand on a high moral ground and take a stand or empathise with the mother whose dream of a healthy baby has been shattered, there can be no end to this debate.

I applaud the bravery of parents who nurture, look after and above all, HOPE for their children afflicted with Down’s syndrome, autism and a host of such disabilities. It takes courage and fortitude.